Trump ad in Minnesota touts 'jobs, not mobs' over image of steel plant that laid off most its workers

Gerdau steel mill
(Image credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

The Trump campaign is running an ad in Minnesota that seeks to portray Democrat Joe Biden as in thrall to "lawless" protesters while arguing President Trump will "protect" the state and bring "jobs, not mobs." The "jobs" line is illustrated by a photo of Vice President Mike Pence visiting a steel mill in St. Paul in March 2019. A year later, the Brazilian company that owns the mill, Gerdau Ameristeel, told workers it would shift to finishing steel, not melting or rolling it, leading to 222 layoffs in the 300-strong workforce, David Weigel reports at The Washington Post.

Pence had visited the St. Paul steel mill to promote the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, which was signed in January 2020. "Gerdau is an example of how American steel is back," Pence said during his 2019 visit. "We are going to level the playing field, and Americans are going to win like never before." Dave Hallas, 41, immediately recognized the photo in the new ad, because he had been one of the mill workers at the event. "The tag line is jobs," Hallas wrote on Facebook. "My mill that has been operating for over 55 years is now closed and it was not COVID-related. Failed promises."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.